PTSD 101 – What it is and How to Support Someone

Jul 26, 2023 | 
Service Members and Veterans

Traumatic events impact everyone differently. For some people, the impacts of trauma can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a diagnosis that is treatable with evidence -based therapies.

June is PTSD Awareness Month – here is some basic information to boost your knowledge and familiarity!

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a clinical diagnosis of symptoms and behaviors that many people experience after enduring or witnessing traumatic events.

Studies suggest that about 5% of adults live with PTSD.

Certain groups of people like survivors of violence or sexual assault, refugees, survivors of natural disasters, and warzone deployed service members and Veterans may be at increased risk for developing PTSD.

Although many people exposed to trauma don’t go on to develop PTSD, we can all play a role in creating compassionate and understanding communities that support people who have experienced trauma.

Everyone can benefit from understanding the warning signs and available treatments for this disorder. Start by learning more and sharing the various resources available!

How can I be supportive of someone struggling with PTSD?

  • Be supportive and nonjudgmental. If you recognize warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, be supportive and ask to share your observations and concerns with the person in your life. Consider using the Make The Connection website or the PTSD: National Center for PTSD Home ( website to help with the discussion.
  • Learn the difference between evidence-based treatments and alternative treatments. Navigating treatment options with a healthcare provider is recommended. Keep in mind that substance use, including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and any mind-altering substance, can increase the prevalence of PTSD symptoms and impair treatment.
  • Be mindful of situations and events that may be difficult for those with PTSD. By asking our loved ones – especially those we know have survived trauma – what they need, we can prepare for events that may be difficult. For example: Some people struggling with PTSD have difficulty with the sound and sight of fireworks, which can exacerbate stress and panic responses. Since fireworks are a common part of 4th of July celebrations, making a safety or support plan in advance can be beneficial.

Additional Resources for PTSD Support

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
24/7, free, confidential
Call or text 988 or chat online

VA National Veterans Crisis Line
24/7, free, confidential
Text and chat options available
Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and Press 1

Lines for Life Military Helpline
for Oregon residents
24/7, free, confidential, unaffiliated with the Department of Defense

Lines for Life Behavioral Health Support Line
for Oregon residents
24/7, free, confidential

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